For quite some time, hospitals have chosen to patch together existing systems and link them to their new, fancy EMR/EHR system. But lately, EMRs that offer better end-to-end integration are beginning to be hospitals’ first choices, according to research released last month by healthcare vendor research firm KLAS.
As everyone knows, Meaningful Use rules have thrown hospital EMR adoption efforts into high gear over the past couple of years. Just as importantly, MU gave providers an excuse to spend on new, integrated clinical data technology rather than slapping together old clinical systems with spackle and electrical tape.
Not only are the new, integrated systems easier to use — as they make it simpler to review and manage data across the enterprise — they’re also easier to maintain, KLAS notes. Of course, integrated systems created the dreaded vendor lock-in, but these days perhaps that’s a risk hospitals have decided to face.
Recent KLAS data on hospitals with over 200 beds suggests that the Epic juggernaut continues to pick up speed. Apparently, Epic ranked first in new hospital contracts for hospitals in this size range. According to KLAS, Epic is impressing hospitals with its ability to integrate systems, even though, in KLAS’ words, “they lag behind in technology and are not the cheapest solution available.” (Hey, KLAS said it, not me.)
Another vendor turning up among KLAS’ winners’ list is Cerner, which came in second after Epic. Many of the new Cerner sales were to existing customers who’d previously implemented the big vendor’s system in other facilities, KLAS reports.
Just for the record, other EMR/EHR vendors doing well in the 200+ bed hospital category include Allscripts (Eclipsys), GE Healthcare, McKesson, NEDITECH, QuadraMed and Siemens.
My bet is that the high-ticket EMR spending spree will slow down within a year or so, as hospital IT directors begin to feel, well, rooked by the big-ticket vendors selling jury-rigged, hard-to-use technology. But for the time being, I guess price is, well, not too big an object.